My joy of advanced sections during the August Reading Institute at the #TCRWP centers around the thoughtful and deliberate choice of sections to meet my needs. As soon as I saw this title I was hooked because of the focus on “progressions” and “independence”. Transfer is always in the back of my mind as well. If a student doesn’t transfer the literacy work to both other content areas AND life, a lot of time has been wasted for minimal gains.
“Using Learning Progressions and Performance Assessments to Increase Student Skills and Independence” – Kelly Boland Hohne
On Day 1, less than 30 minutes into our first session, we were unpacking a strand. In a group of five other new friends, digging deeper into the meaning of just one reading strand with this process:
Unpacking a strand – do 3 things
- Study between the levels of the strands and note differences. What is the key work of this level?
- Try to put into own words or use keywords from description.
- Try to imagine how that would look in a student’s writing about reading or talk or what it would look like if the student is doing that work.
I appreciate so many things about the #TCRWP Institutes as the brilliant staff developers each have a different style. And though my brain felt like it was melting, I was so excited (and yet a bit apprehensive) about digging into this work immediately. As in one strand with gradual release (Teacher modeling, Group Practice) and then a second strand in our group with constant check ins and support (if needed). All On Day One! I think this was the point where I tweeted out that I was getting my $$$ worth at #TCRWP. However, it could also be where I first thought it, but had zero seconds to actually tweet it out! The pace is not for the faint at heart!
When dealing with the progressions: Do I have to do everything listed in the level to be “in” the level? (Have you ever had this question about the rubrics or the checklists?)
No, No, No. You just need to do more than the previous level. This is why demonstration texts are critical. If and when you make the thinking and the writing visible, students can figure out how to rise to the next level. However, teachers do need to unpack these strands themselves for deep understanding. Making a copy of someone else’s chart does NOT give you the background knowledge to help a student. After all you, as a teacher, are more flexible when you understand the tool which is why you need to do this work yourself.
Where might you begin? Which progressions stand out?
Focus on some key strands to begin with because they are repeated a lot (via Kelly Boland Hohne):
Literal – Envisioning/Predicting
Interpretive – Character Response/Change
Interpretive – Determining Themes/Cohesion
Analytical – Analyzing Parts of a Story in Relation to the World
Analytical – Analyzing Author’s Craft
We worked on these topics in small groups. Our group focused on “Character Response/Change”, What does this look like across grades? What would a demonstration piece of writing look like across the grades? Here’s what the draft of my chart looks like!
As we use the chart, it’s highly probable there will be some revisions. It’s also possible that there will be continued discussion about “quantity” and “quality” of responses. Those are some of the common issues in trying to measure/assess learning. The key is to:
- Make a plan.
- Think about the information you plan to use.
- Work collaboratively to consider theories about student work.
Making the invisible visible in reading comprehension is a lofty, noble and worthwhile goal. It CANNOT be handed to you in a book, a set of standards, or even a set of progressions. The meaning comes from digging into the work.
What work are you doing to build students’ independence?
How will you know you are on the learning journey?
How will you know when you are successful?
Oh, Happy Day!
My #OLW (One Little Word) is Focus!
And Focus was my goal today!
So I’m cutting straight to the chase and starting with my second session!
I literally only have two pages of handwritten notes from this session because . . .
We were working every minute!
(That could mean that I have a whole ton of photos, but remember “Focus” – no time to get side-tracked!)
Katie – Loving Complex Informational Texts
How can we accelerate students up through the levels of Nonfiction?
Today we studied the reading progressions in the new Units of Study in Reading that had their “birthday” on Tuesday of this week. Katie modeled looking across two grade levels of the “Main Idea” study that has been our anchor this week, and then we were turned loose to choose our own progressions to review. This was eye-opening, scary and yet, exhilarating work with collaborative opportunities to deepen our understanding as we read and discussed the content.
Our world of learning was then rocked by the three tools that Katie shared:
- Writing about Reading – Demonstration text written by the teacher
- Checklists for students constructed by the teacher
- Reading Toolkit pages
Then we could choose to create either Tool 1, 2, or 3. My partner and I chose Tool 2. Checklist as we felt that would really be “beginning with the end in mind” if we constructed the checklist and then went back to write the demo text. Here are our first drafts for our Analytical area:
The chunk of “progressions” that this was based on is also included here:
This is work for just one of the progressions for Informational Text with checklists drafted for students in grades 2-4. The progressions include student expectations for 16 areas. These grew out of ten years of work in classrooms where students were collecting post-its across a wide span of grade levels but the work did not increase in sophistication as it continued up through the grades.
Do teachers understand this work?
Where does this fit into your current understanding of teaching reading?
Just a bit more about the Learning Progressions you see pictured above (3 strands = literal, interpretive, analytic)
- Lays out growth over one year
- Based on grade-level expectations
- Written in first person, with student friendly language
- Includes both external behaviors and outcomes and internal processes
- Lays out 1 possible pathway for growth
- Designed for student self-assessment (included in MWI and Shares)
Is this work that your students are already doing?
How would your propose to set up a course of study for your students to learn how to do this work with informational text?
And then we moved on to Performance Assessments. We completed the task as students where we were asked to respond in writing with multiple main ideas. In our group, we seemed to either have a topic sentence that was a “series” or two distinctly different paragraphs dealing with separate main ideas. “Real students” did neither so it is helpful to have our own ideas in mind but also be prepared for students to do something totally different.
- Eliminated skills already in Running Records
- Included skills that are valued on state standardized tests
- 4 main skills for each unit of study (Others are addressed but only four are assessed at the beginning and end of the unit)
- Can be completed in one class period
- Text used is designed for grade level readers
- Not to assess reading level but skill level thinking so a teacher could read them to a group of students
How could these performance assessments inform the reader?
How could these performance assessments inform the teacher?
Switching gears from upper grades to FIRST grade!
Liz Franco – UNIT 3: Readers Have Big Jobs to Do: Fluency, Phonics, and Comprehension
As you can tell by the title, this unit focuses on the foundational skills. It is targeted for readers in H – I – J band and specifically designed to build the skills and practice for students that will help them be successful as they encounter more difficult text. We explored books in this range and found that the texts are more complex.
- Past tense – many irregular words
- Figurative language – comparisons
- Multi-syllabic – 3 syllable words
- More complex sentences
- Multiple phrases in the same sentence
- More often than not – sentences are getting longer so line breaks are sometimes a scaffold but this leaves at K, L, M
- More dialogue
- Dialogue tags are varying
- Fluency – read with expression to match the tags
Then we looked at running records from students to determine what we should teach. What were the miscues? What strategies might we try?
- Rereading to self – correct
- Cross checking
- Check to see if it’s a snap word
- Try the vowel sound another way
- Use tools in the room (vowel chart)
And then we talked about the “HOW” for providing instruction . . . Possibilities for working with vowels:
Strategy Lessons – sounds vowels make – Readers have to be flexible – try it 2 ways
Small group shared reading
Small group word study with the vowel charts (Making/)breaking words AND THEN may make into small group interactive writing – compose something) or a Vowel sound hunt from books in their baggie
Key Point: We aren’t convening a guided reading group of “H” students because we are going to give them “i” books. Instead we ask:
What kind of H reader?
What supports tap into next steps?
So, each student is provided with the instruction they need, not just marching through the levels . . .
“PLEASE, SAY MORE!”
“A student is ready for “I”, but he/she tends to karate chop words and not think about whole of text. I will have more previewing work in my introduction.” LF
“A student is ready for “I”, but he/she tended to struggle with multi-syllabic words and not look through the words, I will put more VISUAL supports into my introduction.” LF
“I am strategically planning who is being grouped together. It’s not about the ‘letter’.’ LF